Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – December 2020

It’s December at last and the year from hell is almost over – hurrah! But there’s still time to eke some goodness out of 2020 by submitting to one of over 130 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in December 2020!

In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston says: ‘There are years that ask questions and years that answer’. I don’t think there can be any doubt that 2020 was a questions year; it made us all reconsider so much that we take for granted, from how we operate as a society to the most basic acts of affection.

On a personal level, it asked me to consider absence, loss and grief, after my Dad died in March. Further losses followed, including a dear writer friend last week. We’ve all had to wrestle with loss this year. At a writing level, it has been a fallow year for putting pen to paper (though not for ideas) and I’ve been wondering how I can build the restorative writing practice for myself that I create for others. I’ve also been pondering how to adapt my teaching offerings to fit the world we’re living in and the levels of stress we’ve all been under for so long. I don’t have answers to all these questions yet but I trust they will come.

For the past 2 years, I’ve kicked off the New Year with a 30-Day writing challenge and I’m bringing it back again in January, with some key changes in keeping with the times. First, all of the Winter Wonderland 2021 prompts will focus on good news and upbeat ideas to get the year off to a positive start. Second, they’re not all writing prompts! I’ve built in ‘creative pit-stops’ – days where we’ll explore different approaches to creativity and tune up our imaginative skill sets as writers.

The challenge is a great way to set your writing intentions for the new year and avoid the January blues – it’s going to be a lot of fun!

There will be bite-sized daily exercises, inspiration and a supportive and encouraging community of writers in the private Facebook group. Fair warning though – my email list always gets first dibs on new events and the Facebook group is already two-thirds full! If you want to join us on 1 January, be sure to grab a spot before they’re all gone.

The email only version of the daily exercises has proven a winner in previous challenges, for those who want to avoid social media, and it’s back. Just select the ‘Email Only’ Paypal option at the link.

To find out more and book your spot, click the button below.

Thanks to a generous donation, there are two free places available to writers experiencing financial difficulties or from under-represented groups – if you’re a woman, a writer of colour, LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, disabled or working class, please drop me a line (in confidence) to claim one of these spots.

Or if you’d like to sponsor a spot for someone or gift a spot on a future writing challenge as a Christmas present – contact me and I’ll take care of it. For prezzies, I can even send you a personalised printable gift certificate so you have something to put under the tree!

In this strange year of loss and isolation, I’m tremendously grateful for the understanding, encouragement and support of this community of writers – who take part in my poetry events and who read this blog. I love working with you and helping you to send your words out into the world. I love hearing about your successes. Thank you so much for your support throughout this year and I hope these lists have helped you find homes for your work. If you’re in a position to give back (see below) it would be very much appreciated.

And as you’re ticking off your Christmas shopping list, remember – poetry makes the perfect stocking filler! Please support writers, small presses and independent bookstores this Christmas.

I wish you a happy, healthy, safe and peaceful holiday season and the very best of luck in sending out your poems this month. Take care and I look forward to seeing you in 2021!

Annual Christmas Request

Creating this list is a labour of love, taking the best part of 20 hours to source, organise and write each month. If you find it useful and would like to show your appreciation, click the button below and make a small contribution toward a writer’s necessities in life, like:

€1.00 (a cheeky wee bar of chocolate or a new pen)
€3.00 (a piping hot creamy latte or a new notebook)
€5.00 (a lovely cold pint of Guinness or a competition entry)
€10.00 (a scrumptious pizza or a new book)

Donate Button

If you have the means, please consider making a monthly contribution. The competitions list is read between 8000-13000 times each month. If everyone who uses the list were to contribute just €1 per month, it would go a long way to supporting not just the list but my work as a writer.

To everyone who has contributed this year, thank you so much for your kindness and generosity. May your poems go out into the world and shine!

DeCember 2020

American Poetry Journal Chapbook Series – Poetry manuscript (42 pages max.) – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Hollis Summers Poetry Prize – Poetry manuscript (60-95 pages) – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Slice Literary – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

The Common – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

The Iowa Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

The Ralph Gustafson Prize – Poetry – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Brunel International African Poetry Prize – Poetry (emerging – not yet published a full-length collection) – closes 2 Dec (submit online)

Lucent Dreaming Poetry Pamphlet Contest – Poetry manuscript (Under-represented diaspora poets in the UK, 20 pages) – closes 4 Dec (submit online)

Passengers Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Visual Arts – closes 4 Dec (submit online)

Cove Park Residency – Literature/Translation (UK-based only) – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

Into the Void – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

Mslexia Pamphlet Competition – Poetry manuscript (20 poems/24 pages max.) – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

Mslexia Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

Under the Radar – Poetry, theme: The Elements – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

Bedtime Stories for the End of the World – Poetry, theme: Myth, Folk Tales – closes 11 Dec (submit online)

The Citron Review – Poetry, Flash, Non-fiction, Micro Poetry/Fiction/CNF closes 14 Dec (submit online)

Columbia Journal Winter Contest – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Translation – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Copper Nickel – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Translation – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

C.P. Cavafy Prize – Poetry – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Harvard Review – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Drama – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

New Ohio Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

The Folklore Prize – Poetry – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

The Test Site Poetry Prize – Poetry manuscripts (min. 48 pages) – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Visual Verse – Poetry, Flash, Non-Fiction – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Haleakala National Park Artist Residency – All Disciplines – closes 19 Dec (submit online)

Sonder – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction – closes 20 Dec (submit online)

Nightingale & Sparrow – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Photography, theme: Blizzard – closes 21 Dec (submit online)

The Puritan – Poetry, Fiction, Essays – closes 25 Dec (submit online)

Arc Poetry Magazine – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Crazyhorse – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Dorset Prize – Poetry manuscript (48-88 pages) – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Drawn to the Light – Poetry, Art, Photography – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

LitMag – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Modern Poetry in Translation – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Modern Poetry in Translation: European Pandemic Issue – Poetry, theme: Responses to Covid19 crisis – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

ROPES – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Memoir, Essay – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Submissions Literary Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Artwork – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

The Griffin Poetry Prize – Poetry collections published in 2020 – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

The Matchgirls 1888 Memorial Competition – Poetry, Flash Fiction, Phone Film, theme: The Matchgirls Strike 1888 – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

The Moth Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

The Two Sylvias Press Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize – Poetry manuscript (48-80 pages, female/identified poets over the age of 50 only) – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Waxwing – Poetry (note: 300 entry limit – may close earlier) – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

William Carlos Williams Annual Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Wolverhampton Literature Festival – Poetry, theme: Aspects of Love – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 1 Jan (submit online)

Mississippi Review Annual Contests – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 1 Jan (submit online)

The Penn Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Visual Art – closes 1 Jan (submit online)


Ó Bhéal Five Words – Poetry – deadline each week, annual prize (submit online)


Douglass in Ireland Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 7 Jan (submit online)

The White Review Poets Prize – Poetry – closes 10 Jan (submit online)

CCI Artists Residency – All disciplines – closes 12 Jan (submit online)

Magma Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 15 Jan (submit online)

Guernsey International Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 15 Jan (submit online)

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Agenda – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – open (submit online)

Ambit – Poetry, Fiction, Art – open (submit online)

A New Ulster – Poetry, Fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

Anthropocene – Poetry – open (submit online)

Apartment Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Atrium – Poetry – open (submit online)

Bear Review – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Artwork – open (submit online)

Bending Genres – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – open (submit online)

Brittle Star – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

Carve Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

Cheat River Review – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

Dreich Mag – Poetry – open (submit online)

Driftwood Press – Poetry, Fiction, Literary Criticism – open (submit online)

Dust Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Empty Mirror – Poetry, Non-fiction, Visual Art (committed to diversity & inclusion) – open (submit online)

Fecund Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Essay & more (POC only) – open (submit online)

FIVE:2:ONE – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Artwork by underrepresented writers (POC, LGTBQ, non-binary, neurodivergent, trauma survivors etc.) – open (submit online)

Frontier Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Fruit Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Hybrid (LGBTQI+, with emphasis on unheard voices – POC, trans, working class) – open (submit online)

Guernica – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Photo Essays – open (submit by post)

Hosking Houses Trust Residencies – Women writers over 40 (all genres – must have contract to publish / broadcast / perform) – open (submit online)

Idler – Poetry, Fiction, Essays – open (submit online)

Ink Sweat & Tears – Poetry – open (submit online)

Irish Literary Review – Poetry – open (submit online)

Lighthouse Literary Journal – Poetry & Short Fiction – open (submit online)

LitMag – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Essays – open (submit online)

Lunate – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – open (submit online)

Marble – Poetry – open (submit online)

New Contrast – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

Omelette Literary Magazine – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction & more – open (submit online)

One – Poetry, a single poem – open (submit online)

Orbis – Poetry – open (submit by post (UK) or online (overseas only))

PANK – Poetry – open (submit online)

Palette Poetry – Poetry (under-represented and marginalized voices of all colors encouraged to submit) – open (submit online)

Peepal Tree Press – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction manuscripts from Black & Caribbean writers – open (submit online)

Pigeon Pages – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – open (submit online)

POETRY Magazine – Poetry (submit online)

Poetry Ireland Review – Poetry – open (submit by post)

Poetry London – Poetry – open (submit by post or online)

Poetry Salzburg – Poetry – open (submit by post or online)

Poetry Wales – Poetry – open (submit by post or online)

Porridge Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art – open (submit online)

PN Review – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – open (submit by post)

Prole – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – open (submit online)

Riggwelter – Poetry, Short Fiction, Visual Art – open 31 March 2020 (submit online)

Shakespeare & Co Tumbleweeds Residency – all writers – open (submit online)

Sine Theta Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art (Sino diaspora only. People of Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or Macau heritage, who live anywhere away from the original ‘homeland’ of that heritage – rolling deadlines, email to express interest (submit online)

South Bank Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Spry Literary Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

Squawk Back – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Reviews, Plays – open (submit online)

Stand Magazine – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

Stepaway Magazine – Poetry, Flash Fiction, theme: walking in the city – open (submit online)

Tears in the Fence – Poetry – open (submit online)

The American Journal of Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Brooklyn Quarterly – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Translation, Humour – open (submit online)

The Cardiff Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Flash (preference given to students and unpublished graduates of Creative Writing, English Literature & Journalism) – open (submit online)

The Compass Magazine – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Curly Mind – Poetry, theme: experimental – open (submit online)

The Dark Horse – Poetry – open (submit by post)

The Ellis Review – Poetry, published weekly – open (submit online)

The Galway Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Reviews, Plays – open (submit online)

The Lake – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Lascaux Review – Poetry, Fiction, Essays – open (submit online)

The Lincoln Review – Poetry, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Essays and more (actively encourages writers, artists, and photographers who come from marginalised and underprivileged backgrounds) – open (submit online)

The London Magazine – Poetry, Non-Fiction, Art – open (submit online)

The Missouri Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

The Moth – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

The Offing – Poetry, Translation, Art and more – open (submit online)

The Ofi Press Magazine – Poetry & Short Fiction – open (submit online)

The Poetry Village – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Poetry Review – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Sea Letter – Poetry, Fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

The Selkie – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Features (marginalised and/or under-represented voices incl. women (or identify as), people of colour, immigrants, LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent and more) – open (submit online)

The Seventh Quarry – Short Poetry – open (submit online)

The Southeast Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Reviews, Artwork – open (submit online)

The Sun Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Interviews – open (submit online)

The Times Literary Supplement – Poetry (submit by post)

Three Drops From a Cauldron – Poetry, Flash, theme: Myth, Folklore, Fables, Fairytales – on hiatus until 2021 (submit online)

Tinderbox Poetry Journal – Poetry – open (submit online)

Wildness – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

Best of luck!

If you have a competition or journal with a deadline in December 2020, and it is not included above, feel free to add the details with a link in the comments section below!

(Illustration by Nicole Ray via Etsy)

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